Kings XI Punjab's (KXIP) bowling against RR, MI and CSK wasn't impressive, but a holistic look at the team will possibly lead to changes in personnel in the batting department too.
KL Rahul has had to anchor the KXIP batting and is also having to stay till the end as a finisher due to lack of runs from Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran, who are not yet in top gear. Rahul’s strike rate has come under scrutiny in instances where he did not quite finish like he did against RCB.
Bringing Gayle back into the team could see him teeing off on bowlers and lengthening the middle order by separating Rahul and Mayank Agarwal and designating the finishing roles to Pooran and Sarfaraz Khan. This change could have a positive impact on Rahul's performances as well as he will be allowed to play his natural game and have a tremendous impact on the final score.
It will be interesting to see who between Rahul and Mayank will drop to the No. 3 position if KXIP ropes in the Jamaican in the next match.
Yes, the dynamics of the KXIP batting will change with Gayle’s tendency to play out a few dot balls and his clear liking for 4’s and 6’s rather than 1’s and 2’s. But Gayle's sheer presence at the crease can be daunting for the opposition and he has it in him to win 2-3 games on his own, if not more.
KXIP need to register 7 wins out of the remaining 9 matches to make it to the playoffs. Ringing in a few crucial changes at this juncture will at least give the team a realistic chance to achieve a top 4 finish.
KXIP will have to make some tough decisions, at the earliest, including one about Maxwell, who has not quite cracked the IPL code yet although he has peformance well at the international level.
Below is the Ideal starting XI for the KXIP for their next match against SRH, who seem a bit vulnerable without their lynchpin Bhuvneshwar Kumar. This could be a perfect opportunity for KXIP to unleash Gayle. Mujeeb can be brought in for Jordan, who is otherwise a highly regarded T20 death bowler.
KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Hardus Viljoen/Sheldon Cottrell, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh/Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi
In the bowling department, Arshdeep Singh, the left-arm quickie, looks to be a promising young left-arm pacer and the team management can bring in either him or Ishan Porel. They should perhaps try to finish their quota before the 15th-over mark. Mujeeb, Shami and Viljoen/Cottrell can be trusted to handle the critical last 5 overs.
Deepak Hooda or Krishnappa Gowtham can be considered in place of Sarfaraz Khan as a 6th bowling option and Murugan Ashwin can be a straight swap for the young Ravi Bishnoi.
In the past, we have seen teams going on a roll and winning matches during the middle phase and the back end of the tournament. Time will tell if KXIP can get their act together and turn results around in their quest for a maiden IPL title.Published 05 Oct 2020, 16:57 IST